Reducing carbon pollution at the core of new study

Wednesday, 15 February, 2012

Curtin University researchers have been awarded a $1.4 million grant to independently assess the injection capacity of carbon dioxide (CO2) at selected sites, to assist local communities, industry and government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Funded by the Australian National Low Emissions Coal (ANLEC) Research & Development program, and led by the Head of Curtin’s Department of Petroleum Engineering Professor Brian Evans, the two-year study will test eight cores from a range of potential CO2 geosequestration storage sites to determine how suitable they are for injectivity. Geosequestration involves capturing CO2 from a source, such as a power station, and injecting it, in a compressed form, via a pipeline, directly into deep, underground geological formations.

Professor Evans said the research would help to provide a new level of CO2 injectivity and storage confidence in Australia.

“Research of this nature has never been conducted before and will provide an insight into the optimum method of evaluation of dynamic injectivity conditions at a number of potential Australian test sites,” he said.

“Following this study, there will be a high degree of confidence in the tested sites’ CO2 injection capabilities, as well as data for potential assessments for geosequestration sites in Western Australia, Victoria and Queensland.”

Professor Evans said the research would offer the longer-term potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the geosequestration of CO2 at sites which were proven to be capable of its short-term injection and storage.

“In testing the cores at each chosen storage site, we will determine how suitable each tested rock core is, and therefore which sites are capable of CO2 injection and dynamic storage of CO2.

“The cores will be tested in Curtin’s Core Flooding, Rock Physics and Exploration Geophysics Laboratories, as well as CSIRO’s CT Laboratory, all co-located in the ARRC [Australian Resources Research Centre] building at Technology Park, Kensington.

“Once we have the laboratory testing procedure optimised, we will be able to test cores from reservoirs from around the world.”

Professor Evans said a specialised, independent CO2 injectivity analysis service would become available to industry in Australia and internationally as a result of the project.

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